Secretary of state candidates Ritchie and Severson debate

The two major candidates for secretary of state debated and disagreed on many points, but agreed on one thing. Democrat Mark Ritchie and Republican Dan Severson both said they’d like to lower the threshold for an election recount from the current margin of 1/2 of 1% down to 1/4 of 1%. They also don’t want politics in the office. Ritchie said “There’s something about making elections a partisan game that’s wrong to me.” Severson said “There’s not room for partisanship in the secretary of state’s office.” That’s about where the agreement ends.

They disagreed on photo ID, Ritchie called it unconstitutional, it’s a central issue for Severson. Ritchie said you could only go to online voting “when government is smarter than the hackers.” Severson said “there’s a future in it” and when I followed up asking if there’s a future now for online voting the Republican said yes. When an audience member at the Goodwill/Easter Seals office in St. Paul asked about why Minnesota’s voter turn-out is so high, Ritchie was proud to say “it’s part of who we are.” Severson said we’ve made voting easy and is “concerned we’ve opened up the system to make people feel good.” We’ll have more of this debate I moderated Friday on Almanac and following the show at 8pm on tpt I’ll also host a live gubernatorial debate sponsored by AARP.

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Comments (5)

  1. Submitted by Diane Clare on 09/17/2010 - 02:03 pm.

    How can having to show a photo ID to vote be unconstitutional? I need one on me in the form of a drivers license every time I drive a car, a photo ID to open a bank account, cash a check, get into my safety deposit box, board a plane or train, and frequently when using a charge card, a passport whenever I re-enter USA, many need a workplace photo ID everytime they enter their place of employment, and it seems to me it is pretty frequent that one is required to have a photo ID handy because someone asks to see it.
    Who doesn’t have one, only someone who doesn’t get out and about at all or at least never drives a vehicle, takes planes or trains and does cash only shopping, and must hide their money in the mattress. So, what law makes requiring a photo ID to vote unconstitutional? Maybe it makes asking for it in any and all circumstances just as unconstitutional!

  2. Submitted by L.A. Krahn on 09/17/2010 - 03:05 pm.

    Why, Diane? Because the practice of requiring photo ID to vote is an example of Disenfranchisement.

    I presume with good reason, you list daily transactions that require the use of photo ID BECAUSE they are examples of consumer activity. So it may appear reasonable to you that voting is similar, BUT citizenship and the right to vote is fundamentally different because it is NOT a commodity.

    The hypothetical Minnesotan you describe is nonetheless has a right to cast a ballot. Under current practice her neighbors can vouch for her. The need for photo ID is a red herring — where is no problem.

  3. Submitted by Tim Walker on 09/17/2010 - 03:29 pm.


    It’s because it’s retrogressive and it disproportionally discriminates against the poor, minorities, and poor minorities.

    And by “discriminates” I mean “disenfranchises” — i.e., taking away a fundamental right essential to a democracy.

    Don’t do that. Ever.

  4. Submitted by Diane Clare on 09/20/2010 - 09:33 am.

    Simple question, what coded law, what judicial decree, states it is unconstitutional?

  5. Submitted by Anita Newhouse on 09/27/2010 - 02:07 pm.

    Section 504 of the Americans with Disabilities Act for one. There are numerous instances in law and statute that infer or directly apply constitutional status to voting accessability. Go to a law library, search constitutional law and filter at will. There’s a reason people who practice law get a minimum of an 8 year education. Just because some talking head in the media or a candidate makes a claim about “constitutionality”, gives that person no standing to be able to offer anything other thatn an OPINION. It’s an unfortunate detail of current life that too many people readily and lazily accept unqualified OPINION as FACT! Happy researching!

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